#1 Lawi Lalang (Arizona '14)
#8 Matt Centrowitz (Oregon '11)
Could we see another #1 seed go down in this round? Lawi Lalang was a dominant distance force during his time in the NCAA, earning seven national titles, endless All-American awards and even a couple of collegiate records (although Cheserek would later break Lalang's mile record). You could make the argument that he is the second best men's distance runner in this bracket.
However, the incredible name recognition and post-collegiate success of Matt Centrowitz will be tough to take down. The Olympic gold medalist owns only one national title from his college days, but his breakout 2011 season followed by a bronze medal at the World Championships was enough for Centro to forgo his remaining eligibility and turn pro. Can the master tactician pull off the upset over one of the greatest collegiate distance runners of all-time? It's very possible...
#4 Morgan McDonald (Wisconsin ‘19)
#5 Cam Levins (Southern Utah '12)
Morgan McDonald's 2018-2019 was simply incredible, winning the NCAA cross country national title, taking home the 5k and 3k national titles during indoor and securing NCAA gold in the 5000 meters during outdoors. Tack on a 7:42 (3k) PR as well as an out-of-season 13:16 5k time from competing in Australia, and it's easy to see why McDonald owns a #4 seed in our bracket.
Cam Levins joins Galen Rupp as the only men's collegiate distance runner to win the Bowerman Award. Add on incredible 5k and 10k personal bests of 13:18 and 27:27 respectively, and you have a resume that could very easily match McDonald's. The two-time national champion already took down Thomas Staines in the first round, but he'll have an even tougher matchup in round two.
#3 Chris Solinsky (Wisconsin ‘07)
#11 Chris Derrick (Stanford '12)
Chris Solinsky's win over Will Leer in the first round wasn't exactly shocking, but he did so rather easily. A five-time national champion on the track and 14-time All-American, Solinsky has a resume that is simply loaded with accolades and accomplishments. To dominate in an era that was loaded with so much talent should explain why Solinsky has a #3 seed in our bracket.
As for Chris Derrick, he may be the greatest collegiate distance runner to never win a national title. He also secured 14 All-American honors and recorded some outstanding times such as 3:59 (mile), 7:46 (3k), 13:19 (5k) and 27:31 (10k). Those times should make him competitive with Solinsky in this matchup.
#7 Michael Saruni (UTEP ‘18)
#15 Sean McGorty (Stanford '18)
Michael Saruni quietly pulled away with the win over Brad Hauser in the first round. Now, Saruni will once again have to face another Stanford star in this round. The only difference is that this time, he'll go against someone a bit more recent. The national record holder in the 800 meters and a national title winner in the greatest era of collegiate middle distance running ever, Saruni will have his work cut-out for him with McGorty.
Sean McGorty's win over David Kimani was huge and it truly showed how much of star power he owns. Of course, his collegiate accolades are a big reason why he was so competitive. He ran 3:53 (on an oversized track) in college and later walked away with the only national title of his college career in a memorable 5k in which he was the underdog. After taking down an all-time great of the early 2000's, McGorty will go against one of the greatest 800 meter runners the NCAA has ever seen (regardless of era).